By Marc Kokinski

A review of Human by Aude

Published on May 1, 2007


Exile Editions

Human, the fifth novel by one-time Governor General’s award winner Aube, is the story of an encounter between Magali, a woman caged in a body that has been irremediably destroyed by a debilitating illness, and Jeanne, a doctor who comes to see Magali beyond the coldness of medical procedures, as an embodiment of her own loneliness. The book has been compared to Bergman’s Cries and Whispers and one has to agree that the vividness with which it conveys human solitude and misery as our sole bonding experience has a very Bergman-like feel to it.

However, by overpopulating the second part of her story with characters and subplots that only serve to move it toward its resolution, the author breaks the climate of intimacy between the two main characters she has so delicately established in the first part. This seems to be a classic case where the writer’s blind submission to the imperatives of conventional storytelling – or, for that matter, her inability to put them to good use – somehow dilutes and spoils the emotional power of the matter at hand.

That said, it feels almost unfair to judge too harshly a work that is undoubtedly sincere and at times successful in bringing us closer to, as the author puts it, “the dark and wordless zone inside the self.” mRb

Marc Kokinski is currently working on a series of graphic poems relating to the various meanings of letters and literary figures such as Nabokov.



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